A few weeks ago, I posted here about "The Flower Project" and how it had grown out of a few smaller photo projects/challenges that I was using to help me develop and grow my technical and creative skills as a photographer. In the same way as The Flower Project, the Minimal Series was born.
The Minimal Series is focused on capturing the essence, texture, and feel of everyday objects through black and white photography; the series title of "Minimal", refers to the simplicity of how these photographs were captured. Often the captured image is a close up, or macro view, of part of the object; other times, its the whole object. The object is often sat alone out of its element or use in an effort to bring the beauty of the object to the forefront.
I think there is an innate and often overlooked beauty to the design of many of the things be we use today. Sometimes it's the simplicity of a design that makes me wonder what the creator was thinking about before they came up with the final design. Other times as I look at an object, its the texture of the material that stands out and captures my attention - the striations in the metal, the grain of the wood, or the fibers of a rope.
I hope that as you and other others see the photos in my Minimal Series, you'll grow to appreciate and understand the daily objects around us more. Sometimes I feel it's easier to see the beauty of nature, than it is to see the beauty and uniqueness of the object created by human hands. Perhaps it's because we are so accustomed to seeing these everyday objects that we don't look past their use. It makes me wonder what we'll find if we look at things without any preconceptions - to me, that thought opens a world of ideas just waiting to be explored.
As I continue to explore the world around me, and feel inspired to create photos for the Minimal Series, I hope you will continue the adventure with me. I loved to hear what you think about this series, as well as my other photography. And I'd love to connect with you - feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
You can see more of my MINIMAL Project over on my portfolio page:
Mark Hamilton Photography - Portfolio: MINIMAL Project
This past weekend, my family took our second camping trip of the year. For this one, we returned to Table Mountain Campground outside of Wrightwood, CA; it was here we first camped as a family last year. Located in the mountains of the Los Angeles National Forest, just east of Los Angeles, Table Mountain provides some great views and hiking trails, with the added benefit of being on a couple hours from San Diego.
One of things I like about the Table Mountain Campground is the number of camp sites to choose from, and that each has a fair amount of space. Perfect for letting the kid and dog roam around and play in, and perfect for getting some great nature shots. The other thing I like about the Table Mountain Campground is the 2.5 mile hiking trail that goes around the campground. The trail is mostly shaded, has a good mix of terrain, and opens up to some great views.
Now my son just loves to be outside exploring and playing; in fact, I think he'd spent most of his day, every day, outside if we let him. Well, he did just that on our camping trip. After helping us set up the tent, he was off to explore and play - and play he did, in the dirt, with sticks and rocks, his construction vehicle toy, a frisbee, and of course the water bucket. He played so hard in the dirt and mud that he turned a different shade of little boy, and reminded me a lot of Pigpen from Peanuts.
I absolutely loved watching and capturing him playing because it reminded me of my childhood.
My son was so dirty that despite a couple wipe downs at camp and a jaunt through the backyard sprinkler when we got home, it took a good scrubbing in the bath before all of the dirt came off. (too bad none of the orneriness came off too :-P )
Anyway, the other reason I love camping and hiking is the chance to explore and enjoy nature, and the opportunity it provides to work some personal photo projects. In this case, I wanted to work on my night sky photography, and I knew I would most likely have the opportunity to take some landscape photos, as well as hopefully one or two for my Flower Project.
You can read more about The Flower Project here:
As the sun began to set, our camp site at Table Mountain Campground provided a spectacular view of the sun through the trees as it descended behind the mountains to the west. The location was perfect for the sunlight to kiss the scraggly plant life in the area just next to our campsite.
As I watched the sunset while sipping my coffee, a little creative inspiration came to me. What's more relaxing than a nice cup of coffee and a beautiful sunset when camping? And how can I combine the two right here?
I quickly grabbed a piece of firewood that intrigued me earlier and sat it on the ground with my coffee cup right on it. And with the camera low to the ground I created a couple photographs that I hoped would combine how I felt at that moment with what I saw.
After the sun had set and the littleman was in bed, we built the fire up a bit, and enjoyed some tea and s'mores. I took this time to relax a little bit more and set up to capture some photos of the night sky. Unfortunately, the moon was against me getting some great shots of the Milky Way, and our camping trip wasn't something I could've planned around the moon's phase, so I adapted and ended up with some photos I was proud of.
The light from the moon forced me to think and compose my shots in different ways which was good. I think that learning to adapt and make the most and best of any situation is a skill that is great to have no matter the situation.
Here are the night sky photos I was created during our camping trip.
This camping trip taught me a lot about raising a kid and about photography. I love the photos I was able to create during the trip, and the memories that they depict are even more important to me. I can't wait until our next camping adventure. Until then though, there are a ton of other photographs to create and adventures to have.
Weddings are probably one of the most important days in anyone's life. Unfortunately things don't always go as planned with weddings. Sometimes it's things we have control over, other times it's not, but either way we can be disappointed and/or frustrated by whatever doesn't/didn't go as planned.
When one of my good friends reached out to me about editing her daughter's wedding photos, and explained to me the issue behind the request, I was more than happy to help.
Up to this point, I had been focused on family portraits, action sports, and nature photography, and had never shot or retouched a wedding; but having committed to shooting two weddings, I thought not only would I be able to help out my friends, but that it would also be a great learning experience for me.
Here are a few of the Original/Edited photos
Retouching these photos provided me an awesome challenge. Not only did I learn a lot, but it also gave me some ideas and a lot to think about for when I photograph a wedding.
Here are a few more photos from the wedding.
The Flower Project is focused on capturing the intrinsic beauty of flowers in both a natural and creative manner. The project grew out of another much larger photo project, and is really the result of two different influences, my mother love of roses and my wife's love of flowers.
In the fall/winter of 2014, I decided I would embark on a weekly/monthly photo project/challenge which would help me to grow as a photographer both in the creative and technical skills. During the project two of the themes, Nature and Macro, saw me seeking to use flowers for the daily challenge.
My wife would often get a bouquet of flowers every week at the grocery store to put in the kitchen, and often it was those flowers that became the subject for my photography. This along with my mother's love of roses, which I would try to photograph a unique way to give her prints of those photographs as a Christmas present, sort of morphed into The Flower Project you see on my portfolio page.
The Flower Project photos range the gamut from bright and airy, to cool and relaxing, to dramatic and melancholy; you'll also find that way the photos are taken are widely varied. The goal behind the project really is capture and present the flowers I find throughout my normal daily life in a way I find appealing. Sometimes the look of the flower sparks a creative idea for me to run with; other times, I have an idea of what I want or how I want to photograph the flower before; and yet other times, I'll see a flower just on the tree or in the garden and want to snap a quick photo of it. It's kind of a bit of everything.
The photos in the flower project are lit in few different ways. The two predominate are natural light and off camera flash. When using natural light, I tried to position the myself and the camera in a way that made the best use of the natural light as it lit the flower. The times I opted for off camera flash, I typically had the flowers set up against a white background and the flash positioned in a way to best make use of the white background, and to add some texture and contrast to the photo. Often the flash ends up over the flowers with the camera in front of them.
For the more creative shots you see, I utilized a few different techniques including adding textural overlays during post processing and using a broken mirror to photograph the reflection of the flowers. On a few occasions, you'll see that I staged the flowers as if they were on some sort of table, either a dining or end table, in a house; these shots remind me almost more of a still life painting or some other sort of fine art piece hanging in a business or museum.
With the very broad sense of the project, I find that I'm constantly adding photos to the project. Not all of the photos have or will be added to the portfolio page, and there are some that totally forgotten to add the the project.
I think that as personal projects go, the broad and openness of this project allows me to do a lot with it, and to keep it pretty fresh.
So, what do you think? Would you like to be able to purchase some prints of The Flower Project photos? Would you be interested in a book or calendar of the photos? I'd love to hear your opinions and thoughts, and would be greatly appreciative if you took a moment or two to leave a comment here.
You can see more photos of The Flower Project:
- In my portfolio, The Flower Project
- In my Gallery: The Flower Project. Here you can also purchase prints if you'd like.
Thanks! And I hope you enjoy The Flower Project series as much as I do.